Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Balancing on Top of the World
Our weekend trip to western Virginia was lovely. We thought we would stay around Charlottesville for the night, but ended up driving through Lynchburg, which seemed strangely and eerily deserted until we reached the shopping malls outside of town, and then on to Roanoke, which was also strange in its own way. It's a cool little Eastern city, with the feel of a section plucked out of New York or Philadelphia, with clusters of of independent stores and restaurants. But since the streetlights didn't go on until about two hours after full darkness, even though the streets weren't exactly deserted, it felt surreal and other-worldly. When they did go on, the city became quite charming.
The next day we drove up the Blue Ridge Parkway, the southern equivalent of Skyline Drive. It was a beautiful, foliage-filled drive, albeit a bit chilly and cloudy, and breathtaking in more than one way.
It truly is a ridge, far above the land, with non-guardrailed twists and turns 1800 feet above the valleys on either side. Breathtaking, indeed. Poor Al had to try to ignore my sharp gasps and my clutching whatever was close at hand every time we came to a turn. I'm sure there was plenty of room, but I make a much better driver than passenger.
The clouds, and a haze over the valleys, not to mention the photographer's ineptitude with her new camera, did not let the glorious, frootloopish colors show themselves off in their full glory. But never fear, I had my turn-everything-into-a-Maxfield-Parrish-scene sunglasses on. Let me demonstrate.
We did leave the parkway for a little, descending into the valley below to see if we could find the Natural Bridge, which we somehow missed, but we found something else instead. Al suddenly said, "Was that Stonehenge up there on the hill?"
No, not Stonehenge. Foamhenge.
For the last stretch of our parkway drive, the sun came out for good, allowing for some nice rambles on short trails, and some cheerfully brighter photographs. A fantastic weekend getaway.